Autosave and manual save work only intermittently

Okay, this is a weird one. I’ve never seen this happen in ANY other software I’ve used all the way back to the era of DOS 3.2.

The “Save” feature works only intermittently. Sometime it does, sometimes it doesn’t; and I mean both auto and manual save. For example, if I type something into the main editing pane, then move to a different folder in the binder, then go back to the original one, my text in that first folder will sometimes have vanished, even if I did a “Ctrl+S” manual save before leaving the folder.

Another strange quirk: sometimes when I reformat anything, whether it be a single word, a paragraph, or many paragraphs, I come back to the folder later to find it has reverted to the original format. Again, this is even after a manual save.

I think I wasted about 20% of my time on a project yesterday re-typing, reformatting, and/or re-copying and pasting material over and over again.

I opened the same project today to find that once again, some text is missing and some formatting I’d changed has mysteriously reverted back to its original form.

Very strange and VERY annoying. I’m sure glad I’m still in “trial mode” for another 21 days and haven’t paid for it yet. Unless this can be resolved, I definitely won’t be using it much longer.

To me, this is a bug that renders the software compeletely useless. I mean, what’s the point of using something that continually loses your work?? :unamused:

Thanks for your interest in Scrivener and for the detailed report on the saving problems you’re seeing. I’m sorry you’ve had such an unfortunate experience! If I could get some system specs from you, that would be quite helpful for investigating this, as this is not a common problem and the more info we can get, the better:

  • What is the file path where the project is saved? Is this a local drive?

  • Hard drive free space: Open Windows Explorer (Windows Logo Key + E) and right-click on your local disk drive where the Scrivener project is saved and choose Properties. How much free space is reported in the General tab?

  • Available RAM: Open the System Information window by right-clicking on the “Computer” item in the Windows Explorer list (parent of the C: drive) and viewing Properties or by using the shortcut Windows Logo Key + Pause key (also labelled Break). What’s reported for the Installed memory (RAM)? (Also, while we’re here, what’s the processor speed and system type?)

  • From that System Information window, click the “Advanced Settings” option and enter the administrator password if necessary. This will open a System Properties dialog, focussed on the Advanced tab. Please click the Settings button at the top for Performance, then in the Performance Option dialog that opens, click on the Advanced tab. The bottom section here is on Virtual memory: what does it give as the total paging file size for all drives?

Next, please open the command prompt (type “cmd” in the Windows search bar from the Start menu and then press Enter, or if you’re on XP, first choose Run from the Start menu and then type “cmd” and Enter there). Inside the command prompt, please run one by one the following commands and let me know the results:
echo %windir%
echo %TEMP%
echo %TMP%

Moving forward, we’re in the process of working on the next update to Scrivener and have added some additional checks and error reports. Given the problem you’re having, I suggest uninstalling the 1.5.7 trial you’re using and instead, if you’re willing, downloading and installing this pre-release build. With the enhanced error reporting, this should warn you if the text file is not saving correctly, so you can copy out the contents and then close the bad session so you do not add further text that wouldn’t be saving. It may be worth trying this in addition to monitoring the document files within the project folder, by opening the project folder in Windows Explorer and drilling down into Files\Docs to keep an eye on the modified date column to ensure files are updating when Scrivener saves. (Only the text files edited since the last save will update; this is for watching that the RTF files are saved, since that seems to be the specific nature of the problem.) If you find that the files aren’t updating when they should but you’re not getting the error message, please let us know! Ideally though, if the save problem happens, you should get an error message to warn you. In either case, if you note the current file is not saving, copy your work out of the document before switching to another file in the editor, and then please report back with as much detail on the occurrence as you can.

It sounds from your description that the files sometimes save, sometimes don’t, all during the same session within Scrivener, i.e. you may open a project and work in it and some files will save and others will not, all without closing and reopening the project. Is that the case? Or is it that you’ll open the project and work in it and close it to find that nothing from that session saved? If there are any common factors you can identify among the times when it does not save compared to the times it does, please let us know. Anything you can think of here might be relevant–how long the project has been left open, other software always running or not running, using Save As early in the session, copying text from another program.

We aim to make Scrivener as robust as possible on all setups–certainly there’s no point in writing software that regularly loses your work! I understand your reticence to write further in Scrivener until this issue is resolved, and to that end we’d greatly appreciate any of this additional information you can provide. Thank you for your help!

Thank you, Jennifer, for your extremely detailed and thorough attempt at solving this problem.

After taking a look at the drive space, I think you may have hit on one of the possible causes. All my document files are saved on a local drive, but it is a virtual drive created by an open-source encryption software called TrueCrypt. It exists as a single file on the C: drive until you “mount” the file with TrueCrypt, whereupon it shows up in Explorer as the “D:” drive (or whatever other letter you designate). Perhaps the free space is insufficient or Scrivener doesn’t play nice with virtual drives?

Anyway, here are all the specs you requested:

TrueCrypt virtual drive:
40.5 GB total
9.4 GB free

AMD Phenom II P840 Triple-Core 1.90 GHz

RAM: 4 GB, 3.74 GB usable

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Total paging size for all drives: 3834 MB

Below is a copy-and-paste from the command screen:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright © 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\James>echo %userprofile%

C:\Users\James>echo %temp%

C:\Users\James>echo %tmp%


Regarding the “when and where” questions about the intermittent saving, it all occurs within the same session on the same document. To me, it looks like Scrivener is sometimes not even retaining the text in RAM when I go from one folder to another in the binder, because when I go back to the original folder a few seconds later, the text is gone. (But not always. Go figure.)

Before exiting the program yesterday, I did a manual save, confirmed that my changes appear to have been saved by inspecting the contents of the various binder folders, then closed the file. This morning when I opened it, I noticed the retro-reformatting bug had struck again.

I will try changing the save location to the actual C: drive (it has tons of space left on it). If that works, I will then expand the virtual drive to a more appropriate size and see how that goes.

As far as uninstalling this version and installing the pre-build, uhhh, honestly … too much trouble to bother with right now. I simply haven’t got the time to diddle with major software issues. And frankly, after 26 years of dealing with the quirks and problems of PCs, I find my patience and enthusiasm (ahem) for such mysteries is at an all-time low.

At this point, I JUST WANT THINGS TO WORK. (Unfortunately my, uh, thrifty nature still cringes at the prices of comparable hardware when I look at PC vs. Mac.) :wink:

I certainly hope some of this info helps. I really like Scrivener’s capabilities; it’s light years ahead of another outliner I had been considering which, surprisingly, is the same price. I would definitely go with Scrivener if this issue can be fixed easily and quickly.

Hi James, Thanks so much for going through all that. I’ve forwarded it all to the developer so he’ll be sure to have a look, and he or I will post back if he has any additional suggestions or queries based on that. If you do experiment with saving your project outside of the virtual drive, I’d very much appreciate hearing how that goes. It’s possible some recent changes to how Scrivener saves the files in temp is having repercussions on that that work method. I’ll grab TrueCrypt and do some testing with this myself as well.

Don’t worry about trying the pre-build; I suggested it in part just so that you might have better warning when working that files weren’t saving correctly, to save you the hassle of losing bits or having to constantly copy and paste, but as I assume at this point you’re not playing around with a real project, that’s probably not a pressing issue, and I understand it’s a bit more work than you signed up for. I’d love it for everything to “just work”, too (on my PCs and Macs!), and I appreciate the time you have put into helping track this down even if you end up needing to look elsewhere for a writing program while we work to solve it.

Hello again, Jenn.

Well, it certainly looks like it IS a drive-space issue. I changed the save location to a new folder on the desktop, did a “save as” with a new file name, and haven’t had a problem since! Everything is working perfectly.

I haven’t yet tried it with TrueCrypt again, but only because I discovered that I can’t expand the size of the virtual drive like I thought I could. Although there is a free utility that enables one to do that, I found that it only works on an earlier version of TrueCrypt than the one I have (the most recent).

I will have to create an entirely new larger virtual drive and copy all my document files over to it, including Scrivener’s. I will do that eventually and I’m 99% certain that it will work, but in the meantime I can just continue using Scrivener while saving the files to the new folder on the “C:” drive.

Thanks again for your input and help! :smiley:


Hi James,

Thanks for testing this a bit and reporting back! I’m delighted to hear the results have been favourable, as well. We’ve made some adjustments to the save procedure for the next update, so the temp space is no longer required as it was earlier, and that should help with the drive space issue. We’ve actually got a timed trial (expires August 7th) for the upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo which includes this enhancement, so you can give that a whirl if you want; get it here. Otherwise, I’d suggest keeping the automatic check for updates in the General options enabled at the “daily” setting so you can upgrade to 1.5.8 once that updater gets pushed out.

All the best,


Hello again, Jenn. I have another update. I decided to give the original TrueCrypt virtual drive one more try before creating a new one (which will be a bit of a hassle, given the number of files I’ll have to transfer over).

I did another “save as”, this time back to the TrueCrypt location and, viola, no problems! Everything seems to be fine.

So maybe it wasn’t a drive-space issue after all. (I did think it was a bit odd that Scrivener would need more than 9.4 GB of free space to work with.)

I can only surmise that my first project files somehow got corrupted at some point early on and were unable to repair themselves during any subsequent saves (or rather, non-saves).

Anyway, bottom line is that all is well once again, even within the virtual drive. And thankfully, I still have 17 more days left in the trial period to explore Scrivener’s capabilities without having to deal with that little bug! :smiley: